While Andrew is often on the ship, they do pull into port often. Lucky for both of us! That way I can talk to him every few weeks or so. Right now he is just chill in’ with his only day off at the beach. That makes me really happy to know that he is getting some downtime. Before I delve into the trip to Tangier, may I first apologize for the formatting. I can’t seem to get the flow the way I want and spending another hour on it is not what I’m up for. πŸ˜‰ On that note, last week a few of my lady friends decided to jump in the car (at 4am) and go to Morocco! Pretty amazing. So I wanted to share our adventures. It took us two hours from Chipiona, Spainto get to Tarifa, Spain. From there we parked and got on the ferry, passports stamped! It was a 45min ferry ride that made me very sick. Not fun. But basically anything that moves makes me feel horrendous. Lucky me. ;)But then, BOOM! you’re in Africa. That is four continents for me and I can’t get enough. After we disembarked, we headed to find our private tour guide Jamal. Jamal was amazing! Such a nice guy. Very very protective of us. First we jumped in the van and headed to just take some nice photos of mosques, and pretty views. Tanger has 1 million people! It’s huge and not what I expected. Americans are so sheltered. You think Africa, not modern. But wow, what a city.

It was supposed to rain all day, but as you can see it was lovely. Maybe 70 degrees. Bring a rain coat and you’ll get sun. πŸ˜‰ We really lucked out. And this was a great time of year to go, aka not miserably hot. We headed up to a nice viewpoint, to look at more of the city/ocean. There are vendors everywhere selling trinkets. Like the Old City in Jerusalem. I should have bought a few things, but I was saving my Euros for bigger and better.

It was supposed to rain all day, but as you can see it was lovely. Maybe 70 degrees. Bring a rain coat and you’ll get sun. πŸ˜‰ We really lucked out. And this was a great time of year to go, aka not miserably hot. We headed up to a nice viewpoint, to look at more of the city/ocean. There are vendors everywhere selling trinkets. Like the Old City in Jerusalem. I should have bought a few things, but I was saving my Euros for bigger and better. After that it was time to ride some camels! And, there were baby camels. Adorable! The babies were soft and cuddly. Okay, maybe not cuddly. But they were very passive. The adults were huge! And if you’ve never ridden a camel, hang on for dear life! When they stand up and sit down I felt like I was riding a bull. Wished I would have had that warning haha. But! I didn’t fall of. Success.

After the camel ride, it was time for lunch, and lord knows I was hangry, as per usual. We chose a kind of touristy place. The belly dancer was awful. But the music was good, and the food was better! They cook everything in a Tagine, which is (you probably know) a Moroccan ‘crockpot’ if you will. Don’t worry, I bought one. πŸ˜‰ And naturally at the end of the meal you have the official drink of Moroccon, and it’s an amazing mint tea. Way different from whatever is going through your mind. I’ve had it before at the Hammam in Cordova and didn’t realize that was what it was. It delicious!

After lunch it was time to walk around through markets and shop. Beautiful mosaic tiles everywhere as you can imagine. Jamal would take us through some markets and stop us before entering and telling us to put our purses on the front of our bodies and guard them well. I never once felt uncomfortable this whole trip. He was a great guide.

Barbara Hutton’s house (One of Cary Grant’s wives at one point or another):

Me plus an 800 year old tree = Awesome. We then continued our walk to go to the markets! I do love to shop. Though I came on a budget this trip. Some of the fun things we came across… I loved seeing the women weaving baskets that wrapped very fresh goat cheese. I wanted to buy one, but I could eat that in one sitting and we all know how that would end.

You don’t get more organic or fresh than this!

Spices! This was probably my favorite stop. I came home with more than I brought back from Israel, but much more generic ones. But they ground it there while you wait and hand it to you literally hot, and so fragrant! I bought 200g of Cloves, Cinnamon (best I have ever tasted), Pepper, and Flax Seed. They young men who were working there thought I was so strange because I wanted a picture of their hands (to draw) and they looked at me like I was crazy. I’m not surprised. I often embarrass people I am with by walking up to complete strangers asking if I can take their picture. Creeper? Nah… Artist. There is a difference. πŸ˜‰ Our guide, Jamal told them I was an artist and they blushed so bad haha. Anyway, I loved it because their hands were stained this vibrant yellow from the Saffron. I didn’t get the photo I wanted but it was a fun memory. I can’t wait to go back for more spices! I only paid 9 Euro ($12) for all of it. You can’t buy two quality in grocery store for that!

As our day trip came to an end we had some more mint tea with Jamal and headed back to the ferry. But fear not, I came back with goodies!

I bought this handmade rug. And it was a struggle. If you ever go to Morocco and you want to buy something that is $100, you offer $10. Have a cap in mind. If they keep bartering, simply walk away and say no thank you. They will literally follow you and say, okay… for you, $10. πŸ˜‰ It’s such a crazy culture shift. An experience for sure. The rug was made by the Berber people. They are the ethnicity indigenous to North Africa. Pretty amazing. You can read more about themΒ here. Oh and Lola needed to give it a test ride. πŸ˜‰

I wanted to get so many photos of people to draw. So many fascinating faces. But Jamal told us not to aim our camera are people directly. They find it offensive. And some women as we would walk by (without holding our cameras) would cover their faces. I tried to be sneaky, but to no avail. Guess I’ll just have to look things up online to draw. Haha.

I also bought some handmade leather shoes (Talked him down to 8 euro from 25).

Lastly, my main goal was to go to the Hercules cave to purchase some large geodes. Well the caves are closed for 16 months!!! You could get thigh high ones for 30 euro. In the states they would be easily 600-$1000, if not more. Super bummed. So I bargained in the markets for the largest I could find. I bought 4, for 20 euro… Eh. But they are beautiful. All in all it was a great trip and I can’t wait to take Andrew, friends and family again. Super lucky!

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